tv [untitled] January 8, 2012 2:01am-2:31am PST
commissioner moran: good afternoon. i would like to call the december meeting of the public utilities commission to order. mr. secretary, could you call the roll? >> [roll call] i might note that commissioner courtney's arrival is delayed, but he is expected, and commissioner caen is excused from this afternoon's meeting. commissioner moran: thank you, and apologies to folks, we needed to meet early, but then we found out that we ran into difficulties getting us all at the getting us all here at the same time. i appreciate your patience and willingness of the commission to come in earlier than we normally do. we have before us the members -- the minutes of november 29 -- >> i believe it is november 8.
commissioner moran: says here november 9. >> there was a typo on the earlier draft. it is the minutes of november 8. commissioner moran: ok, then on the minutes from the meeting of november 8. could i have a motion? thank you, without objection, that is passed. public comment. this is the time for, by any member of the public on items not before the commission today. do we have any public comment? seeing none -- and, michael, you have no slips? >> no speaker cards for this item. commissioner moran: moving on, first of all, a word on the agenda. i think we will end up having to skip around a little bit. let me just say what my intent is.
on the regular agenda, the public hearing on hetch hetchy -- first of all, it was noticed for 1:30, so we cannot proceed before then. also, later in the agenda, we have a workshop on the budget for next year and a suggested rate policy. it would make sense to have that discussion first. my intent would be to move that took after that. in order to accommodate that, i will call the budget workshop item no later than 3:00, to make sure that we are all here for that discussion. we also have two items from mr. chang, and i would give him a choice. i do not want to have to have him necessarily stick around to
the end of the meeting. depending on what he would like to do on that, we could consider both items 10 and then item 13 at the beginning of the regular calendar. so we are kind of shuffling as we go, but i think that should probably get the job done. other commission business? actually, we have -- let's see, now. is michael hennessey here? >> he is en route. commissioner moran: do we have any other other commission business. we do not. let's pass that item and then come back to that. >> we do have one speaker card request. commissioner moran: i'm sorry. i missed the communications. we have a letter summary advanced calendar.
one thing i would like to point out on that -- first of all, i think it is helpful to have staff reports done that way. we have questions, we can raise them, but we do not need to. i would like to point out that for the second item, the annual water supply development report -- that shows that we continue to provide and sell a lot less water than we had planned on. those numbers are through the end of june of this year, so they are six months out of date, roughly, and my understanding of the current numbers is that they showed a current -- a continuation of that trend. the good news is that we seem to be doing well on conservation, but the bad news is that financial plans are a little bit out of whack as a result of that. there is a conclusion in part because of that reduced water demand that there is no need to issue a five-year notice that we do not have enough water to
supply them. so i wanted to point that out as a significant finding, even though it takes no action on our part. commissioners, any questions or comments about communication? i understand we do have a comment from the public. >> good afternoon. i had a comment on the watershed environmental improvement program. is this the appropriate time? i wanted to thank puc staff. i think they are doing a really good job. exciting things are happening in the upper tuolome with the river ecosystem program. we are really looking forward to
the new flow regime. i wanted to thank tim ramirez. you have a great staff working on that. i also wanted to thank the pc for your involvement in the acquisition. which is very exciting. we just got word that the recent appraisal was accepted and confirmed, so we can now go to the wildlife conservation board for the remainder of the funds. it is looking promising. the process has been more stretched out, and there were obstacles we were not expecting, but great things are happening. many thanks to the commission. commissioner moran: all right, any other public comments on the communications? >> we have no other speaker cards. >> the consent calendar -- can we take that up? commissioner moran: not yet. >> so it is not consented?
commissioner moran: we have not gotten there yet. we just did public comments. i kind of jumped the gun on other commission business, so we went back and did other communications. now that the sheriff is with us, we can proceed into other commission business. >> good afternoon, commissioners. as all of us know, i think, mike has been share since 1980, and he will be leaving us. he is being lauded throughout the city for all kinds of wonderful things he has worked on, but one of the key things we have partnered with him on as the guardian project for the storage program. we wanted to thank him for his work there and tell you a little bit about the program and introduce the sheriff. and i believe the head of the garden project is here. [applause]
>> i will take the opportunity to talk sense i have the microphone. frankly, it is made who wants to thank the public utilities commission and ed and his predecessor for the relationships we have developed over the past decade or more -- it is in me -- it is me who wants to thank the public utilities commission. the garden project has been incredible. catherine started a project back in the very early 1980's and planted trees for the department of public works for a time, but as landscaping and horticulture and abatement of trash and refuse and firebreaks became a big issue with the public utilities commission, a partnership was created between the public utilities commission and the garden project under the sponsorship of the sheriff's
department and the public utilities commission, and they have done tremendous work. when they go up to hetch hetchy, all the people there are very impressed with the hard work that these young people do and the product that they produce. the same is true or around various public utility properties in san francisco and the jail, so they help us with firebreaks and do a lot of restoration work. it has been a tremendous partnership, and it is a tremendous job opportunity for the young people who are part of the paris stewards program -- part of the first -- part of the earth stewards program. we started a high school in our county jail approximately six years ago. it is fully accredited. people can get their high school degree or their ged. for the past two summers, we
have done a high school class at the oakdale campus. we would like to see that expand so that people, particularly that -- from that community, but elsewhere can take advantage of a free high- school education. it has been a really great opportunity. we have approximately 600 students in our charter high- school currently in and out of the jails. we work with a great number of community groups. one does not have to be in jail or have been in jail to qualify. it is a great opportunity, and
it is free. i know it has been a big success during the summer. we would like to, if it is something the commission wants to do, see it expand to a year- round program on that campus. i know the principle of our school, the director, is here -- the principal of our school. steve has done a tremendous job. all of this is with the support of the san francisco school board, by the way. >> thank you. i want to thank the commission. i want to thank you, mr. harrington, and all of you. i want to thank you because you help us continue to work in michael's name to do good for the city. for 32 years, i have done that, and i feel it is a real honor to
do it. i tell you and i certainly have told michael throughout the years, whether or not we talk to citizens about what we are doing and we are, when they say that we are with the sheriff's department working with the public utilities commission, i have never ever gotten a bad response from any of the citizens. what they usually say is, "michael hennessey is a good guy." and with the puc is doing is obviously a good thing. i appreciate what you're doing. michael gave me a job april 15, 1980. with that job, i feel i have been able to help others get what i have gotten -- a way to work, a place to work, and a place to be proud to be able to be working. i would like please, it's the -- if the earth stewards would please stand up, because i speak
for them. [applause] i speak for them and i will speak quickly to say that we are proud to do the work that you pay us to do, and we will continue as long as you will have us. sheriff hennessey, i hope as you leave us, that you will remember that you have not left us at all, that you leave us with something we will keep and continue to grow with. [applause] them of mr. sheriff, i just want to thank you for your incredible tenure -- >> mr. sheriff, i just want to thank you for your incredible tenure as sheriff of this county. you are a legend in law enforcement in this nation. i just want to say thank you. >> thank you. appreciate it. [applause]
>> i would also like to extend depreciation period you have made an incredible mark on what it means to be shared -- i would also like to extend that appreciation. you have made an incredible mark on what it means to the sheriff's -- to be sheriff. i know you do not want presentations and stuff like that, but we cannot help ourselves. [laughter] we have a water meter cover. [applause] >> very good. >> official photographer.
>> official photographer. [laughter] >> and city attorney. >> if we could hear from one more speaker -- carol was a person who really ran this program. >> commissioners, thank you for allowing me to speak. since 2004, i have had the honor and privilege of assisting the program. i think managing it is a little bit of an overstatement. for those of you who have had an opportunity to work with the executive director sneed, pretty much, she tells you what to do and you do your best to execute. having worked with the sheriff and the director, we counted over 350 earth stewards,
apprentices, and in turns. we have grown quite a bit. we run a robust summer program now that involves the police department. in years past, the housing authority. they have literally calmed the watershed from places unknown to most city residents right here within our borders, all the way up to the mountains and spent last week of their avoiding animals and all kinds of hazards and clearing 4.5 miles along the power lines. [applause] they are great producers, and i think they have that the gold standard here of providing tremendous benefits and service to the ratepayers. >> thank you. that is hard work. [applause] them and share of -- >> and
sheriff hennessey, i will personally miss working with you. commissioner vietor: i also want to acknowledge and recognize all the earth stewards who are here. thank you for coming out and showing up, and it is not easy thank you for being here and all the work you do. [applause] commissioner moran: thank you very much. moving on to the report of the general manager. >> we have two items today. the first is our wsip update report. i will give her a minute to have the room.
commissioner moran: ok, thank you. just a notice to staff, we have an awful lot of business to do today. we had talked about time limits on staff presentations. i will be enforcing those. julie, you get the first five minutes. >> ok. good afternoon. my update today -- i wanted to start with some good news. at the end of november, our contractor at sunol valley water treatment plant was able to complete the project, and i
wanted to mention that because the timely completion was required to bring back the plan to its full capacity prior to the hetch hetchy shutdown that began on december 5. that required a lot of hard work from our contractor and operations staff, so they are to be commended. the other good news is that last friday, we reached substantial completion on bay division pipeline 5. considering the number of challenges that were associated with installing a pipeline in an urban area like that, we are very glad to have that project behind us and only have minor restoration work left to do. wanted to touch on one of our biggest pre-construction challenges at this point, and it has to do with the procurement of a large, customized slip joint needed for the crossing of the hayward fault. this is a one-of-a-kind item, and only one manufacturer showed interest in fabricating that
unit for us. we have been negotiating with them on the terms and conditions of that unit for about a year now. recently, they informed us that they needed additional limits on their liability, so that was a setback in our negotiations. i now have our deputy of pre- construction involved, and he is helping with the negotiation. i'm being told right now that an agreement is very likely. we are certainly hopeful, but since this is one of our most critical seismic projects, i'm keeping a close eye on this one. this setback in negotiation will delay the start in construction by a few months. we are currently looking at any potential impacts on system shutdown. two items of interest in today's agenda i wanted to mention -- there is a 5.25 micro tunneling
project we wanted to award. the reason we need that tunnel is that back in november 2009, we discovered a culturally significant archaeological site with very human remains. we analyzed a number of alternatives and found that the best option to minimize our cost and schedule impacts was to tunnel under that site, leave the remains in place, and also, under a nearby creek. we asked our contractor on the project for a", and it was much higher than our engineer estimates. they also have special requirements that we did not agree to, so we decided to bid that job separately, and the winning bid is actually significantly lower than the -- the quote we were given. we have a brief you on the number of challenges we have
encountered with the irvington tunnel project. lately, what we are encountering is softer grounds that have a tendency to crumble, so we had to install the steel ribbing that supports the tunnel at a much closer interval. also encountered some squeezing ground conditions that required additional concrete support. finally -- not finally, another challenge. cal osha reclassified the tunnel to gaseous because of the detection of a high concentration of methane. that requires that we move to a full-time gas monitoring program. finally, large influx of ground water. we have seepage from the close by, existing pressurized tunnel that essentially represents a limitless source of water intrusion to the construction of the new tunnel, so we have had
to use probing and grouting techniques to be able to address the ground water. actually, cal osha classified the ground condition to be some of the most challenging they have ever seen in california. all of this resulted in time extensions that are thoroughly calculated. we are not in a position yet to have the full cost impacts, but when we do, we will keep you informed and come back to a request to increase cost contingency at that point. finally, we received a letter from bawsca dated december 7. they make six recommendations, and we are in the process of putting together a response. five minutes? commissioner moran: that is five minutes. >> ok, done.
commissioner torres: what was the nature of the archeological site? >> we found human remains as well as material. i'm not sure exactly, but it was classified as a very protected- type site. we would have had to get a number of permits to be able to entrench. >> -- commissioner torres: no indication of the age of the site? >> i'm sure there was, but i do not have that data. commissioner torres: could you get back to me when you get it? >> i can do that. commissioner moran: the letter from bawsca -- the issues you mentioned sound at least on the surface to be very project and site-specific. any element of that, as you have
wrestled with that, that has greater impact on either schedules generally or management procedures generally? >> a lot of our issues are project specific. there is an ongoing assessment by a third party that tries to draw conclusions that our program-wide. we are looking at those. some of them may, you know -- we may have to make some adjustments. some of them we do not necessarily agree with. we are in the process also to provide extensive comments on those. i could not off the top of my head right now think of a common theme that could be applied to every single project that is ongoing. commissioner moran: ok, thank you. certainly, the tunneling projects in general are challenging, and of shaughnessy found that particular stretch as challenging as anything he had to face -- and o'shaughnessy
found that particular stretch as challenging as anything he had to face. thank you. any public comment on that report? >> commissioners, the second item was an update -- for those of you who were watching a tv -- watching tv a few weeks ago and seeing our guys are in san francisco. mr. ritchie is going to give us an update on what happened and what we're doing. >> thank you. good afternoon, commissioners. i'm going to give an update on the crystal springs pipeline incident, which did occur the day after thanksgiving. we provided you a memo to net -- today, and i will briefly hit the highlights. the pipeline is shown on the map. it runs from down in hillsboro up to san francisco.
it is one of five lines into san francisco, and the incident site itself is highlighted there. it is in the city of south san francisco, just a bit north of the airport. probably one of the things that is unique about our system is how spread out it is. in our particular case, this is where a wsip project was taking place, and there had just been a replacement of one of the connections at that location. on the 25th, there was a leak that was reported at 9:45 in that vicinity, so we have a timeline of that. initially, there was a small leak that grew very rapidly into a larger leak, and we are investigating the cause. i will talk about that in a little bit. the timeline shows it takes a while to work through the different factors of what you find that a leak site, respond to it, start to shut down the system. you are closing 5-foot diameter balls, which you cannot show one like that due to what is called
water hammer that will cause water damage if you shut too fast. it will take a long time to isolate those. it took roughly about three hours to completely isolate this and get the leak completely shut off. on one level, it sounds like a long time. as we have shown, it takes a fair amount of time to get through to it. ultimately, we have clean up starting at 2:00 and a restoration contract to work with people who had suffered damage by about 4:00. it was actually from 9:45 to 4:00 p.m. we were well in to clean up mode at that time. these are from the news coverage. we have high pressure out there. when it is right there adjacent to a big line, you do have a big leak. that is the nature of the business we have to deal with. this shows one of our staff actually closing down the end of the leak in the trenches there.
these are not little things we are dealing with. these are big, heavy duty operations to try to get them closed down. that but a flight to the right -- that is where it occurred. this shows some of the response you see here. mud out there, and those crewmembers are from a contract working with the site. you can see the fire department drop in the background, so a lot of people but dissipated in getting on top of this and trying to do with it as rapidly as possible. the big thing for us we're dealing with now is how does this happen, and can we make sure it does not happen again? the last slide is the incident response. we retain independent expert to fully investigate the cause of failure to make sure we understand why it occurred and that it will not happen again